Sunday, September 11, 2016

Rewriting History in Stone Soldiers: 9/11

Today marks the fifteenth anniversary of the cowardly attack on America by Muslim terrorists financed at least in part by Saudi nationals. It was a horrific act of terrorism that left thousands of noncombatants--including children--dead. And while we should never downplay the horror of this day, or forget how it revealed how far the evil in the middle east will go, we can choose to take away the terror of it that those behind the attacks wanted. 

On the Fox TV Show Fringe a peek into an alternate universe revealed that the Attack on the Twin Towers failed. William Bell had his office in the South Tower as he fought to preserve his world from an even greater catastrophe. Visually, that final reveal in the last episode of Season 1 was clear and powerful--it showed without a doubt this was indeed an alternate reality Olivia Dunham had traveled to.

Technically, most fiction takes place in an alternate reality--very few pieces of science fiction or fantasy or horror take place in the real world. They almost all require a subtle suspension of the laws of reality, or some event that didn't happen in our real-world. The Stone Soldiers universe is no different, and even addreses the issue of alternate realities in its upcoming successor series Shadow Raiders. But how about 9/11? Where does it fit in the Stone Soldiers' universe?

Called "the September Conspiracy" in Stone Soldiers, the events of 9/11 are only briefly mentioned (Mythical) along with a failed attempt to kill JFK in the 1960s. But what does that mean, exactly?

The Stone Soldiers rely in part on the Oracles--psychics able to see events in the future (Shades of War, Stone Soldiers #4). The more people affected by an event, the stronger the psychic backlash from the future. In this way, events can be stopped. Such was the case with 9/11.

With psychic predictions of a terrorist attack on America, the Detachment simply used their AI, MAX (Infernal Machine) to collate data. Here in our world, we know that agencies had an indication about the conspiracy, but as it was compartmentalized and isolated from one agency to another, the attack was not stopped. Identifying the threat and plan, MAX was able to direct conventional forces to intercept those planning to crash the planes that killed so many in our real-world timeline. 

For the Stone Soldiers' world, the events that followed were very similar. Americans would have been horrified by this brazen, coordinated attack on our soil. And estimates of casualties might have been in excess of those that did happen. A military response to the situation would have followed in the Stone Soldiers' world, as it did here. A restructuring of Law Enforcement agencies also would have taken place--the government couldn't acknowledge the existence of MAX or the Oracles, so they had to take steps top ensure conventional law enforcement would prevent any future attacks. 

And that was it--in just a few moments of typing, I took away the Taliban's victory, and saved fictional, alternate reality lives. Stone Soldiers is all about the good guys defeating evil, and I felt this fit well in their universe. 

But in our real world, I'll take a moment today to pray for those lost on 9/11/2001. And for their families. I'll also pray that my fellow Americans don't forget what was done in the name of Islam, and the sacrifices being made daily by our military to fight the same kind of evil in the middle east, rather than let it once more reach our shores. 

Friday, September 2, 2016

A Lesson in Military Jargon, Lesson 1

If you're a vet, you no doubt have used a ton of phrases and words with your civilian friends that makes them wonder what you're talking about. Jargon is a military tradition going back centuries.

This week on Stone Soldiers, we're going to talk about WMDs and the USAF.

Sometimes it's easier to spit out a couple of words over the radio, then a long explanation of what's going on. When it comes to WMDs and Priority Resources, the USAF has a whole series of mini phrases to use to explain the seriousness of a situation, quickly. 

Broken Arrow 
More than just a John Travolta/Christian Slater movie from 1996, the term Broken Arrow is used for any accidental event that involves nuclear weapons, warheads or components. And which doesn't create the risk of nuclear war. In the aforementioned movie, a Broken Arrow happens when a bomber crashes with two live nukes on board--causing a serious pucker-factor throughout the chain of command. 

Covered Wagon
Not just confined to Nukes, a Covered Wagon covers an event when there's an unusual incident affecting protection level one two or three resources. The USAF classifies resources as Priority 1, 2 or 3, with 1 being the most rare, special of resources. If Christian Slater caught John Travolta messing with their bomber before taking off, he might have declared a Covered Wagon
Dull Sword 
This one is for reports of minor incidents involving nuclear weapons, components or systems, or which could impair their deployment. Maybe when a runway is unoperable? Or there's no pilots for an alert bomber?

Bent Spear 
For nuclear weapons, warheads, components or vehicles transporting nuclear material that are of significant interest, if there's a violations or breaches of handling and security regulations. I guess this would be like a NEST team transporting nukes cross-country in one of those unmarked semis stopping at Bestbuy to pick up a copy of Broken Arrow to watch in-transit. 

Empty Quiver 
The seizure, theft, or loss of a functioning nuclear weapon. E.g., when Travolta stole the two nukes with the help of Howie Long and his team of traitors. 

The neutrons have hit the fan, or at least the Uranium. Nucflash refers to a detonation or possible detonation of a nuclear weapon which creates a risk of an outbreak of nuclear war. Like when Travolta triggered his stolen nuke underground. 

Faded Giant 
An event involving a military nuclear reactor or other radiological accident not involving nuclear weapons. For example, McClellan AFB in Sacramento, California had a cool neutron imaging machine back in the 1990s. An airplane would be rolled into a hangar and basically x-rayed, to determine the internal structure of the wings. They were looking for rot in the honeycomb, I was told. The imager was fed by a small, four-rod reactor that fit inside a building not much larger than your average high school gymnasium. Say the water shielding the rods all drained out, allowing radiation to spill out onto the base--that would be a Faded Giant

Got some military-speak you want defined? Got one you'd like to define, email us at DETACHMENT1039 [AT] GMAIL [dot] COM.